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Messages 

of 
Sri Auroiindo & The Mother 



Publisher : 

SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM 
PONDIGHERRY 



All Rights Reserved 



IFirst published in 1949 



SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM PRESS 
PONDICHERRY 

PRINTED IN INDIA 

1218/49/2500 



MESSAGE TO SIR STAFFORD CRIPPS 

I HAVE heard your broadcast. As one who has 
been a nationalist leader and worker for India's 
independence, though now my activity is no longer 
in political but in the spiritual field, I wish to 
express my appreciation of all you have done to 
bring about this offer. I welcome it as an oppor- 
tunity given to India to determine for herself, and 
organise in all liberty of choice, her freedom and 
unity, and take an effective place among the world's 
free nations. I hope that it will be accepted, and 
right use made of it, putting aside all discords and 
divisions. I hope too that friendly relations between 
Britain and India replacing the past struggles, will 
be a step towards a greater world union in which, 
as a free nation, her spiritual force will contribute 
to build for mankind a better and happier life. 
In this light, I offer public adhesion, in case it 
can be of any help in your work. 

31-3-1942 SriAurobindo 

m 



II 



This is the word that came to the Mother when she 

heard on the Radio the declaration of June 2, 1947 

issued by the Viceroy to the leaders of Indian parties ; 

it has been approved by Sri Aurobindo: 

A PROPOSAL has been made for the solution of our 
difficulties in organising Indian independence and 
it is being accepted with whatever bitterness of 
regret and searchings of the heart by Indian leaders. 

But do you know why this proposal has been made 
to us? It is to prove to us the absurdity of our quarrels. 

And do you know why we have to accept these 
proposals? It is to prove to ourselves the absurdity 
of our quarrels. 

Clearly, this is not a solution; it is a test, an 
ordeal which, if we live it out in all sincerity, will 
prove to us that it is not by cutting a country into 
small bits that we shall bring about its unity 
and its greatness; it is not by opposing interests 
against each other that we can win for it prosperity; 
it is not by setting one dogma against another 
that we can serve the spirit of Truth. In spite of 
all, India has a single soul and while we have to 



till we can speak of an India one and in- 
divisible our cry must be: 

Let the soul of India live for ever! 

3-6-1947 The Mother 



[3] 



Ill 

INVOCATION 

O OUR Mother, O Soul of India, Mother who hast 
never forsaken thy children even in the days of 
darkest depression, even when they turned away 
from thy voice, served other masters and denied 
thee, now when they have arisen and the light is 
on thy face in this dawn of thy liberation, in this 
great hour we salute thee. Guide us so that the 
horizon of freedom opening before us may be also 
a horizon of true greatness and of thy true life in 
the community of the nations. Guide us so that 
we may be always on the side of great ideals and 
show to men thy true visage, as a leader in the 
ways of the spirit and a friend and helper of all 
the peoples. 

15-8-1947 The Mother 



IV 
THE FIFTEENTH OF AUGUST, 1947 

AUGUST 15th, 1947 is the birthday of free India* 
It marks for her the end of an old era, the beginning 
of a new age. But we can also make it by our life 
and acts as a free nation an important date in a 
new age opening for the whole world, for the politi- 
cal, social, cultural and spiritual future of humanity. 

August 15th is my own birthday and it is natu- 
rally gratifying to me that it should have assumed 
this vast significance. I take this coincidence, not 
as a fortuitous accident, but as the sanction and 
seal of the Divine Force that guides my steps on 
the work with which I began life, the beginning: 
of its full fruition. Indeed, on this day I can watch 
almost all the world-movements which I hoped to 
see fulfilled in my lifetime, though then they looked 
like impracticable dreams, arriving at fruition or 
on their way to achievement. In all these move- 
ments free India may well play a large part and 
take a leading position. 

The first of these dreams was a revolutionary 
movement which would create a free and united 

[5] 



India. India today is free but she has not achieved 
unity. At one moment it almost seemed as if in 
the very act of liberation she would fall back into 
the chaos of separate States which preceded the 
British conquest. But fortunately it now seems 
probable that this danger will be averted and a 
large and powerful, though not yet a complete 
union will be established. Also, the wisely drastic 
policy of the Constituent Assembly has made it 
probable that the problem of the depressed classes 
will be solved without schism or fissure. But the 
old communal division into Hindus and Muslims 
seems now to have hardened into a permanent 
political division of the country. It is to be hoped 
that this settled fact will not be accepted as settled 
for ever or as anything more than a temporary 
expedient. For if it lasts, India may be seriously 
weakened, even crippled: civil strife may remain 
always possible, possible even a new invasion and 
foreign conquest. India's internal development and 
prosperity may be impeded, her position among 
the nations weakened, her destiny impaired or 
even frustrated. This must not be; the partition 
must go. Let us hope that that may come about 
naturally, by an increasing recognition of the 
necessity not only of peace and concord but of 
common action, by the practice of common action 
and the creation of means for that purpose. In this 
unity may finally come about under whatever 

[6] 



form the exact form may have a pragmatic but 
not a fundamental importance. But by whatever 
means, in whatever way, the division must go; 
unity must and will be achieved, for it is necessary 
for the greatness of India's future. 

Another dream was for the resurgence and 
liberation of the peoples of Asia and her return to- 
ner great role in the progress of human civilisa- 
tion. Asia has arisen; large parts are now quite 
free or are at this moment being liberated: its 
other still subject or partly subject parts are moving 
through whatever struggles towards freedom. Only 
a little has to be done and that will be done today 
or tomorrow. There India has her part to play 
and has begun to play it with an energy and ability 
which already indicate the measure of her possi- 
bilities and the place she can take in the council 
of the nations. 

The third dream was a world-union forming 
the outer basis of a fairer, brighter and nobler life 
for all mankind. That unification of the human 
world is under way; there is an imperfect initia- 
tion organised but struggling against tremendous 
difficulties. But the momentum is there and it 
must inevitably increase and conquer. Here toa 
India has begun to play a prominent part and, 
if she $an develop that larger statesmanship which 
is not limited by the present facts and immediate 
possibilities but looks into the future and bring* 

[7] 



it nearer, her presence may make all the difference 
between a slow and timid and a bold and swift 
development. A catastrophe may intervene and 
interrupt or destroy what is being done, but even 
then the final result is sure. For unification is a 
necessity of Nature, an inevitable movement. Its 
necessity for the nations is also clear, for without 
it the freedom of the small nations may be at any 
moment in peril and the life even of the large and 
powerful nations insecure. The unification is there- 
fore to the interests of all, and only human 
imbecility and stupid selfishness can prevent it; but 
these cannot stand for ever against the necessity 
of Nature and the Divine Will. But an outward 
basis is not enough; there must grow up an' inter- 
national spirit and outlook, international forms and 
institutions must appear, perhaps such develop- 
ments as dual or multilateral citizenship, willed 
interchange or voluntary fusion of cultures. 
Nationalism will have fulfilled itself and lost its 
militancy and would no longer find these things 
incompatible with self-preservation and the integ- 
rality of its outlook. A new spirit of oneness will 
take hold of the human race. 

Another dream, the spiritual gift of India to the 
"world has already begun. India's spirituality is 
entering Europe and America in an ever increasing 
measure. That movement will grow; amid the 
disasters of the time more and more eyes are turning 

[8] 



towards her with hope and there is even an in* 
creasing resort not only to her teachings, but to her 
psychic and spiritual practice. 

The final dream was a step in evolution which 
would raise man to a higher and larger consciousness 
and begin the solution of the problems which have 
perplexed and vexed him since he first began to 
think and to dream of individual perfection and a 
perfect society. This is still a personal hope and 
an idea, an ideal which has begun to take hold both 
in India and in the West on forward-looking minds. 
The difficulties in the way are more formidable 
than in any other field of endeavour, but difficulties 
were made to be overcome and if the Supreme Will 
is there, they will be overcome. Here too, if this evo- 
lution is to take place, since it must proceed through 
a growth of the spirit and the inner consciousness, 
the initiative can come from India and, although 
the scope must be universal, the central movement 
may be hers. 

Such is the content which I put into this date of 
India's liberation; whether or how far this hope 
will be justified depends upon the new and free 
India. 

Sri Aurobindo 

Broadcast from All India Radio, Trichinopoly Station on 
August 14, 1947. 



"REMAIN firm through the darkness; the light is- 
there and will conquer."* 

4-2-1948 Sri Aurobindo 



*To a devotee who had wired : 'Darkness and sorrow spread^ 
after Bapuji's death. Children (people) pray message.' 



VI 
A MESSAGE FROM SRI AUROBINDO * 

I WOULD have preferred silence in the face of these 
circumstances that surround us. For any words we 
can find fall flat amid such happenings. This much, 
however, I will say that the Light which led us to 
freedom, though not yet to unity, still burns and 
will burn on till it conquers. I believe firmly that 
a great and united future is the destiny of this nation 
and its peoples. The Power that brought us through 
so much struggle and suffering to freedom, will 
achieve also, through whatever strife or trouble, 
the aim which so poignantly occupied the thoughts 
of the fallen leader at the time of his tragic ending; 
as it brought us freedom, it will bring us unity. A 
free and united India will be there and the Mother 
will gather around her her sons and weld them 
into a single national strength in the life of a great 
and united people. 

5-2-1948 Sri Aurobindo 

* In answer to a request from the All India Radio, Trichinopoly. 

[ii] 



VII 
ON THE PRESENT SITUATION* 

I AM afraid I can hold out but cold comfort for the 
present at least to those of your correspondents who 
are lamenting the present state of things. Things 
are bad, are growing worse and may at any time 
grow worst or worse than worst if that is possible 
and anything however paradoxical seems possible 
in the present perturbed world. The best thing for 
them is to realise that all this was necessary because 
certain possibilities had to emerge and be got rid of 
if a new and better world was at all to come into 
being; it would not have done to postpone them 
for a later time. It is as in Yoga where things active 
or latent in the being have to be put into action in 
the light so that they may be grappled with and 
thrown out or to emerge from latency in the depths 
for the same purificatory purpose. Also they can 
remember the adage that night is darkest before 
dawn and that the coming of dawn is inevitable. 
But they must remember too that the new world 

*In answer to a query from a disciple* 

[12] 



whose coming we envisage is not to be made of the 
same texture as the old and different only in pattern 
and that it must come by other means, from within 
and not from without so the best way is not to be 
too much preoccupied with the lamentable things 
that are happening outside, but themselves to grow 
within so that they may be ready for the new world 
whatever form it may take. 

18-7-1948 Sri Aurobindo 



[13] 



VIII 
SRI AUROBINDO'S MESSAGE 

{To the Andhra University on the occasion of the Presenta- 
tion of the Sir Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddi National 
Prize to him at the Convocation held at the University on 
Dec. 11, 1948.) 

You have asked me for a message and anything I 
write, since it is to the Andhra University that I am 
addressing my message, if it can be called by that 
name, should be pertinent to your University, its 
function, its character and the work it has to do. 
But it is difficult for me at this juncture when 
momentous decisions are being taken which are like- 
ly to determine not only the form and pattern of this 
country's Government and administration but the 
pattern of its destiny, the build and make-up of 
the nation's character, its position in the world with 
regard to other nations, its choice of what itself 
shall be, not to turn my eyes in that direction. 
There is one problem facing the country which 
concerns us nearly and to this I shall now turn and 
deal with it, however inadequately, the demand 

[14] 



for the reconstruction of the artificial British-made 
Presidencies and Provinces into natural divisions 
forming a new system, new and yet founded on the 
principle of diversity in unity attempted by ancient 
India. India, shut into a separate existence by the 
Himalayas and the ocean, has always been the 
home of a peculiar people with characteristics of its 
own recognisably distinct from all others, with its 
-own distinct civilisation, way of life, way of the 
spirit, a separate culture, arts, building of society. 
It has absorbed all that has entered into it, put 
upon all the Indian stamp, welded the most diverse 
elements into its fundamental unity. But it has also 
been throughout a congeries of diverse peoples, 
lands, kingdoms and, in earlier times, republics also, 
diverse races, subnations with a marked character 
of their own, developing different brands or forms 
of civilisation and culture, many schools of art and 
architecture which yet succeeded in fitting into the 
general Indian type of civilisation and culture. 
India's history throughout has been marked by a 
tendency, a constant effort to unite all this diver- 
sity of elements into a single political whole under 
a central imperial rule so that India might be 
politically as well as culturally one. Even after 
a rift had been created by the irruption of the 
Mohammedan peoples with their very different 
religion and social structure, there continued a 
constant effort of political unification and there was 

[15] 



a tendency towards a mingling of cultures and their 
mutual influence on each other; even some heroic 
attempts were made to discover or create a common 
religion built out of these two apparently irrecon- 
cilable faiths and here too there were mutual 
influences. But throughout India's history the poli- 
tical unity was never entirely attained and for this 
there were several causes, first, vastness of space 
and insufficiency of communications preventing the 
drawing close of all these different peoples; secondly,. 
the method used which was the military domination 
by one people or one imperial dynasty over the rest 
of the country which led to a succession of empires, 
none of them permanent; lastly, the absence of 
any will to crush out of existence all these different 
kingdoms and fuse together these different peoples 
and force them into a single substance and a single 
shape. Then came the British Empire in India which 
recast the whole country into artificial provinces 
made for its own convenience, disregarding the 
principle of division into regional peoples but not 
abolishing that division. For there had grown up 
out of the original elements a natural system of 
subnations with different languages, literatures and 
other traditions of their own, the four Dravidian 
peoples, Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, 
Sind, Assam, Orissa, Nepal, the Hindi-speaking 
peoples of the North, Rajputana and Behar. British 
rule with its provincial administration did not 

[16J 



unite these peoples but it did impose upon them the 
habit of a common type of administration, a closer 
intercommunication through the English language 
and by the education it gave there was created a 
more diffused and more militant form of patriotism, 
the desire for liberation and the need of unity in 
the struggle to achieve that liberation. A sufficient 
fighting unity was brought about to win freedom, 
but freedom obtained did not carry with it a 
complete union of the country. On the contrary, 
India was deliberately split on the basis of the 
two-nation theory into Pakistan and Hindustan 
with the deadly consequences which we know. 

In taking over the administration from Britain 
we had inevitably to follow the line of least resis- 
tance and proceed on the basis of the artificial 
British-made provinces, at least for the time; this 
provisional arrangement now threatens to become 
permanent, at least in the main and some see an 
advantage in this permanence. For they think it 
will help the unification of the country and save us 
from the necessity of preserving regional subnations 
which in the past kept a country from an entire 
and thoroughgoing unification and uniformity. In a 
rigorous unification they see the only true union,, 
a single nation with a standardised and uniform 
administration, language, literature, culture, art, 
education, all carried on through the agency of 
one national tongue. How far such a conception. 

[17] 



can be carried out in the future one cannot forecast, 
but at present it is obviously impracticable, and it 
is doubtful if it is for India truly desirable. The 
ancient diversities of the country carried in them 
great advantages as well as drawbacks. By these 
differences the country was made the home of 
many living and pulsating centres of life, art, culture, 
a richly and brilliantly coloured diversity in unity; 
all was not drawn up into a few provincial capitals 
or an imperial metropolis, other towns and regions 
remaining subordinated and indistinctive or even 
culturally asleep; the whole nation lived with a full 
life in its many parts and this increased enormously 
the creative energy of the whole. There is no possi- 
bility any longer that this diversity will endanger 
or diminish the unity of India. Those vast spaces 
which kept her people from closeness and a full 
interplay have been abolished in their separating 
effect by the march of Science and the swiftness of the 
means of communication. The idea of federation 
and a complete machinery for its perfect working 
have been discovered and will be at full work. 
Above all, the spirit of patriotic unity has been 
too firmly established in the people to be easily 
effaced or diminished, and it would be more en- 
dangered by refusing to allow the natural play of 
life of the subnations than by satisfying their legi- 
timate aspirations. The Congress itself in the days 
-before liberation came had pledged itself to the 

[18] 



formation of linguistic provinces, and to follow it 
Hit, if not immediately, yet as early as may con- 
/eniently be, might well be considered the wisest 
xmrse. India's national life will then be founded 
>n her natural strengths and the principle of unity 
n diversity which has always been normal to her 
md its fulfilment the fundamental course of her 
Deing and its very nature, the Many in the One, 
/vould place her on the sure foundation of her 
Swabhava and Swadharma. 

This development might well be regarded as the 
nevitable trend of her future. For the Dravidian 
egional peoples are demanding their separate 
ight to a self-governing existence; Maharashtra 
ixpects a similar concession and this would mean 
i similar development in Gujrat and then the British 
nade Presidencies of Madras and Bombay would 
lave disappeared. The old Bengal Presidency had 
ilready been split up and Orissa, Bihar and Assam 
ire now self-governing regional peoples. A merger 
>f the Hindi-speaking part of the Central Provinces 
ind the U.P. would complete the process. An 
tnnulment of the partition of India might modify 
>ut would not materially alter this result of the 
general tendency. A union of States and regional 
copies would again be the form of a united India. 

In this new regime your University will find its 
unction and fulfilment. Its origin has been different 
rom that of other Indian Universities; they were 

[19] 



-established by the initiative of a foreign Govern- 
ment as a means of introducing their own civilisa- 
tion into India, situated in the capital towns of the 
Presidencies and formed as teaching and examining 
bodies with purely academic aims: Benares and 
Aligarh had a different origin but were all-India 
institutions serving the two chief religious commu- 
nities of the country. Andhra University has been 
created by a patriotic Andhra initiative, situated 
not in a Presidency capital but in an Andhra town 
and serving consciously the life of a regional people. 
The home of a robust and virile and energetic 
race, great by the part it had played in the past 
in the political life of India, great by its achieve- 
ments in art, architecture, sculpture, music, Andhra 
looks back upon imperial memories, a place in the 
succession of empires and imperial dynasties which 
reigned over a large part of the country; it looks 
back on the more recent memory of the glories of 
the last Hindu Empire of Vijayanagar, a magni- 
ficent record for any people. Your University 
can take its high position as a centre of light and 
learning, knowledge and culture which can train 
the youth of Andhra to be worthy of their forefathers : 
the great past should lead to a future as great or 
even greater. Not only Science but Art, not only 
book-knowledge and information but growth in 
culture and character are parts of a true education; 
to help the individual to develop his capacities, 

[20] 



to help in the forming of thinkers and creators and 
men of vision and action of the future, this is a part 
of its work. Moreover, the life of the regional 
people must not be shut up in itself; its youths 
have also to contact the life of the other similar 
peoples of India interacting with them in industry 
and commerce and the other practical fields of life 
but also in the things of the mind and spirit. Also, 
they have to learn not only to be citizens of Andhra 
but to be citizens of India; the life of the nation is 
their life. An elite has to be formed which has an 
adequate understanding of all great national affairs 
or problems and be able to represent Andhra in 
the councils of the nation and in every activity and 
undertaking of national interest calling for the 
support and participation of her peoples. There is 
still a wider field in which India will need the 
services of men of ability and character from all 
parts of the country, the international field. For 
she stands already as a considerable international 
figure and this will grow as time goes on into vast 
proportions; she is likely in time to take her place 
as one of the preponderant States whose voices will 
be strongest and their lead and their action deter- 
minative of the world's future. For all this she 
needs men whose training as well as their talent, 
; genius and force of character is of the first order. In 
all these fields your University can be of supreme 
Service and do a work of immeasurable importance* 



In this hour, in the second year of its liberation 
the nation has to awaken to many more very consi- 
derable problems, to vast possibilities opening before 
her but also to dangers and difficulties that may, if 
not wisely dealt with, become formidable. There is 
a disordered world-situation left by the war, full of 
risks and sufferings and shortages and threatening 
another catastrophe which can only be solved by 
the united effort of the peoples and can only be 
truly met by an effort at world-union such as was 
conceived at San Francisco but has not till now 
been very successful in the practice; still the effort 
has to be continued and new devices found which 
will make easier the difficult transition from the 
perilous divisions of the past and present to a har- 
monious world-order; for otherwise there can be 
no escape from continuous calamity and collapse. 
There are deeper issues for India herself, since by 
following certain tempting directions she may con- 
ceivably become a nation like many others evolving 
an opulent industry and commerce, a powerful 
organisation of social and political life, an immense 
military strength, practising power-politics with a 
high degree of success, guarding and extending 
zealously her gains and her interests, dominating 
even a large part of the world, but in this 
apparently magnificent progression forfeiting its 
Swadharma, losing its soul. Then ancient India and 
her spirit might disappear altogether and we would 

[22] 



Tiave only one more nation like the others 
and that would be a real gain neither to the world 
nor to us. There is a question whether she may 
prosper more harmlessly in the outward life yet 
lose altogether her richly massed and firmly held 
spiritual experience and knowledge. It would be 
a tragic irony of fate if India were to throw away 
her spiritual heritage at the very moment when 
in the rest of the world there is more and more 
a turning towards her for spiritual help and a 
saving Light. This must not and will surely not 
happen; but it cannot be said that the danger is 
not there. There are indeed other numerous and 
difficult problems that face this country or will 
very soon face it. No doubt we will win through, 
but we must not disguise from ourselves the fact 
that after these long years of subjection and its 
cramping and impairing effects a great inner as 
well as outer liberation and change, a vast inner 
and outer progress is needed if we are to fulfil 
India's true destiny. 

Sri Aurobindo 



[23] 



IX 
ON PHYSICAL CULTURE 

I TAKE the opportunity of the publication of this 
issue of the "Bulletin d' Education Physique" of 
the Ashram to give my blessings to the Journal 
and the Association J.S.A.S.A. (Jeunesse Sportive 
de F Ashram de Sri Aurobindo). In doing so I 
would like to dwell for a while on the deeper 
raison d'etre of such Associations and especially the 
need and utility for the nation of a widespread 
organisation of them and such sports or physical 
exercises as are practised here. In their more 
superficial aspect they appear merely as games* 
and amusements which people take up for enter- 
tainment or as a field for the outlet of the body's* 
energy and natural instinct of activity or for a 
means of the development and maintenance of the 
health and strength of the body; but they are or 
can be much more than that: they are also fields 
for the development of habits, capacities and 
qualities which are greatly needed and of the 
utmost service to a people in war or in peace, and 
in its political and social activities, in most indeed 

[24] 



of the provinces of a combined human endeavour. 
It is to this which we may call the national aspect 
of the subject that I would wish to give especial 
prominence. 

In our own time these sports, games and athletics 
have assumed a place and command a general 
interest such as was seen only in earlier times in 
countries like Greece, Greece where all sides of 
human activity were equally developed and the 
gymnasium, chariot-racing and other sports and 
athletics had the same importance on the physical 
side as on the mental side the Arts and poetry 
and the drama, and were especially stimulated and 
attended to by the civic authorities of the City 
State. It was Greece that made an institution of 
the Olympiad and the recent re-establishment of 
the Olympiad as an international institution is a 
significant sign of the revival of the ancient spirit . 
This kind of interest has spread to a certain extent 
to our own country, and India has begun to take 
a place in international contests such as the Olym- 
piad. The newly founded State in liberated India 
is also beginning to be interested in developing all 
sides of the life of the nation and is likely to take 
an active part and a habit of direction in fields 
which were formerly left to private initiative. It 
is taking up, for instance, the question of the 
foundation and preservation of health and physical 
fitness in the nation and in the spreading of a 

[25] 



general recognition of its importance. It is in this 
connection that the encouragement of sports and 
associations for athletics and all activities of this 
kind would be an incalculable assistance. A 
generalisation of the habit of taking part in such 
exercises in childhood and youth and early man- 
hood would help greatly towards the creation of 
physically fit and energetic people. 

But of a higher import than the foundation, 
however necessary, of health, strength and fitness 
of the body is the development of discipline and 
morale and sound and strong character towards 
which these activities can help. There are many 
sports which are of the utmost value towards this 
end, because they help to form and even necessi- 
tate the qualities of courage, hardihood, energetic 
action and initiative or call for skill, steadiness of 
will or rapid decision and action, the perception 
of what is to be done in an emergency and dexte- 
rity in doing it. One development of the utmost 
value is the awakening of the essential and ins- 
tinctive body consciousness which can see and do 
what is necessary without any indication from 
mental thought and which is equivalent in the body 
to swift insight in the mind and spontaneous and 
rapid decision in the will. One may add the 
formation of a capacity for harmonious and right 
movements of the body, especially in a combined 
action, economic of physical effort and discouraging 

[26] 



waste of energy, which result from such exercises 
as marches or drill and which displace the loose 
and straggling, the inharmonious or disorderly or 
wasteful movements common to the untrained 
individual body. Another invaluable result of these 
activities is the growth of what has been called 
the sporting spirit. That includes good humour and 
tolerance and consideration for all, a right attitude 
and friendliness to competitors and rivals, self- 
control and scrupulous observance of the laws of 
the game, fair play and avoidance of the use of 
foul means, an equal acceptance of victory or 
defeat without bad humour, resentment or ill will 
towards successful competitors, loyal acceptance of 
the decisions of the appointed judge, umpire or 
referee. These qualities have their value for life in 
general and not only for sport, but the help that 
sport can give to their development is direct and 
invaluable. If they could be made more common 
not only in the life of the individual but in the 
national life and in the international where at the 
present day the opposite tendencies have become 
too rampant, existence in this troubled world of 
ours would be smoother and might open to a 
greater chance of concord and amity of which 
it stands very much in need. More important still 
is the custom of discipline, obedience, order, 
habit of team-work, which certain games necessi- 
tate. For, without them success is uncertain or 

[27] 



impossible. Innumerable are the activities in life, 
especially in national life, in which leadership and 
obedience to leadership in combined action are 
necessary for success, victory in combat or ful- 
filment of a purpose. The role of the leader, the 
captain, the power and skill of his leadership, his 
ability to command the confidence and ready 
obedience of his followers is of the utmost impor- 
tance in all kinds of combined action or enterprise ; 
but few can develop these things without having 
learnt themselves to obey and to act as one mind 
or as one body with others. This strictness of 
training, this habit of discipline and obedience is 
not inconsistent with individual freedom; it is 
often the necessary condition for its right use, just 
as order is not inconsistent with liberty but rather 
the condition for the right use of liberty and even 
for its preservation and survival. In all kinds of 
concerted action this rule is indispensable: orches- 
tration becomes necessary and there could be no 
success for an orchestra in which individual mu- 
sicians played according to their own fancy and 
refused to follow the indications of the conductor. 
In spiritual things also the same rule holds; a 
sadhak who disregarded the guidance of the Guru 
and preferred the untrained inspirations of the 
novice could hardly escape the stumbles or even the 
disasters which so often lie thick around the path 
to spiritual realisation. I need not enumerate the 

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other benefits which can be drawn from the train- 
ing that sport can give or dwell on their use in the 
national life; what I have said is sufficient. At 
any rate, in schools like ours and in universities 
sports have now a recognised and indispensable 
place; for even a highest and completest education 
of the mind is not enough without the education 
of the body. Where the qualities I have enumerated 
are absent or insufficiently present, a strong indi- 
vidual will or a national will may build them up, 
but the aid given by sports to their development 
is direct and in no way negligible. This would 
be a sufficient reason for the attention given to 
them in our Ashram, though there are others 
which I need not mention here. I am concerned 
here with their importance and the necessity of 
the qualities they create or stimulate for our 
national life. The nation which possesses them in the 
highest degree is likely to be the strongest for 
victory, success and greatness, but also for the 
contribution it can make towards the bringing 
about of unity and a more harmonious world 
order towards which we look as our hope for 
humanity's future. 

30-12-1948 Sri Aurobindo 



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